Design Junction x greening up the urban jungle

So, the end of another fabulous and very busy London Design Festival.  Whichever venue we visited the buzz and creativity just blew us away!  Our own little creative spot was down on the South Bank behind the OXO Tower, where Design Junction  had taken over some space.  Doing their utmost to green up our urban jungle was the amazing Urban Roof Gardens, a dynamic London company that aims to blur the boundaries between people and plants and create a little bit of roof art along the way.  Urban Roof Gardens borrowed some of our outdoor furniture to complete their installation and we were pleased as punch to be involved in our own small way.

Urban Roof Garden, South Bank, London Design Festival
Urban Roof Garden, South Bank, London Design Festival

Employing their architectural and design techniques, the company use urban space to create fuzzy lines between the built and natural environment.  And, a new one on us, we also heard the word ‘biophilia’ for the first time (ok – so we had to look it up!) which suggests that ‘humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life’; in this case plants.  We all know trees and plants are great for the environment –  they produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air – and even the introduction of a spider plant into the office can raise a smile.  But Urban Roof Gardens take this idea to a whole other level – literally.

Their simple philosophy is that by ‘greening the urban jungle’ they are helping to create a better world for both the urban dweller and their urban environment (that’ll be most of us then!).

Tribu Tosca garden Chairs
Tribu Tosca Garden Chairs

They are passionate about it and have created the world’s leading green wall system.  And it really is beautiful to see. We’re normally quite an energetic lot (well some of us) but you instantly feel quite chilled surrounded by greenery. Urban Roof Garden’s innovative LiveProduct range includes the LiveWall, LiveRoof and LivePicture.

Urban Roof Garden Live Picture
Urban Roof Garden Live Picture

We were really taken with the LivePicture.  This one had been installed above the outdoor kitchen area and, well, was good enough to eat, filled with a mixture of plants and herbs. What a great idea, mixing eating with art!  The Live range is modular so if you find that one night you eat your way through all of the basil, it’s easy enough to slot in a replacement module.  The other thing we really liked is that you don’t need to worry about watering.  Having had our own ‘green wall’ in the Kings Road show room a couple of years ago that sadly didn’t survive too well (we either killed it with kindness or forgot to water it enough – we’ll never know!) Urban Garden’s clever automatic watering system takes the stress out of remembering to get the watering can out.

Urban Roof gardens LiveWall
Urban Roof Gardens LiveWall, Tribu Nodi chairs in the foreground and Tosca chairs at the back

It’s a very urban spot tucked behind the OXO Tower, which is basically a space between a modern building with small, independent shops and workshops overlooking the Thames, and an old warehouse.  The introduction of ‘green walls’ or a ‘living wall of plants’ transformed the area. The walls create a stunning backdrop that can either mask a view, frame it, or simply create a great backdrop. The walls have pre-planted cassettes which, as the URG team showed us, take seconds to change – so you can even reflect the seasons if you’re a green fashionista. They’ll also cool buildings in the summer heat and keep in the warmth during the winter.

Manutti Zendo Modular Outdoor Sofa
Manutti Zendo Modular Outdoor Sofa & Tribu Tosca Chairs

The weather was definitely a bit mixed over the weekend (vertical rain through to 25 degrees sunshine anyone?!) but our furniture did us proud and withstood the elements, as we knew it would.  The Manutti Zendo sofa proved very popular – you can see the side of it in the image above.  It normally lives on our first floor terrace where we have the corner version.  The beauty of the design is that being modular you can configure it as you want.  URG used just a centre piece here and it fitted perfectly. The quick-dry cushions Manutti use, along with robust outdoor fabrics, earned themselves gold stars over the weekend. We think the Zendo probably dried out quicker than the team did!

Manutti are world specialists in outdoor furniture and materials.  They offer a wide range of fabrics including Batyline®, which is a UV-resistant, mass-coloured PVC fibre. It doesn’t fade in light or sunshine and it’s water-repellent, both swimming pool and sea water. It can also withstand extreme temperatures: -30°C (-22°F) to +70°C (158°F), and is super easy to clean and maintain.  Environmentally it’s great too – no toxins, and 100% recyclable. Batyline is available in Mocca, Pearl White, White, Granite Grey, Bronze, Black, Flax and Linen colours.

Lotus is another Manutti fabric and is a perfect balance between ecology (100% recyclable), innovation (a new polyolefin thread) and performance (twice as resistant as an acrylic thread). Lotus is used for fabrics with mixed colours: White Blue and White Sand

Then there’s their All Weather Fabrics which have been specifically developed for outdoor use. The fabric performs exactly the same as Batyline and Lotus. Inside there is a Quick Dry Foam which has a special structure that ensures that the water runs through three times faster, so it also dries three times faster than high resilience foam. Manutti use two different types of All Weather Fabrics: all weather basic (100% polypropylene) and Sunbrella® (100% acrylic).

They also have a range of Nautic Fabrics and Nautic Leather.  Nautic Leather is imitation leather based on PVC, specifically developed for outdoor use (such as the ‘leather’ you see on boats). Nautic Fabric is 100% olefin fabric and totally watertight. So as you can see – a huge choice!

Urban Roof Gardens also chose a couple of our beautiful Tosca armchchairs to complete the look.  Tosca is designed by Monica Armani for Tribu.  They are amazingly comfortable and have a real wow factor. The design features soft, oversized braiding wrapped around a powder-coated stainless steel frame.  The braiding is then filled with a new foam mouse which is then wrapped in a seamless sheath of knitted textilene and polyolefine for extra weather resistance.

Tribu Nodi Garden Armchairs
Tribu Nodi Garden Armchairs

And didn’t our Nodi chairs look good! They’re designed by the highly regarded Canadian creatives, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg for Tribu.

Light and extremely comfortable, the Nodi has a seat and back hand-woven in stain repellent, frost, UV and mould resistant CanaxÆ rope which is stretched across a powder-coated stainless steel frame. The slim profile of the arm is angled slightly inwards as if it’s welcoming you to sit down. Made from PVC and hemp, the woven CanaxÆ crosses in vertical and horizontal lines, providing a great shape and structure. It’s very strong and durable and the pretty rope work is also gently forgiving when you lean against it.

Urban Roof Gardens
Urban Roof Gardens

If you missed the Festival there’s still time to check out our garden furniture.  Pop along to our Kings Road showroom or browse the garden section of the Go Modern site. And if you fancy creating your own ‘green dream’ in the centre of the city go and talk to the great team at Urban Roof Gardens and share some of their green passion.

Go Modern’s outdoor furniture X Urban Roof Gardens

Some late summer outdoor furniture news from us (yes folks… summer’s not over yet!).

We are delighted to be helping the talented crew over at Urban Roof Gardens, Europe’s leading roof terrace designers, with their forthcoming show garden at Design Junction 2018. 

Design Junction is a curated exhibition of the latest cutting-edge design. The event is part of the London Design Festival and takes place across three venues on the South Bank.  We absolutely love the South Bank – it’s a fabulous part of our exciting city, with hundreds of international brands, boutique shops, tons of outdoor installations, as well as delicious pop-up eateries and bars – and it’s got one of the best views up and down the River Thames that you’ll find anywhere in this part of town. There’s also the Globe Theatre within spitting distance, along with Tate Modern and, just over the Millennium Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s definitely a place where you feel history is slap bang up against modern, urban living.

Urban Roof Gardens approached us a few weeks ago about using some of our outdoor furniture as part of their Design Junction project.  The team felt it would fit perfectly with their contemporary designs, which will showcase a series of their modern roof terrace gardens.

The URG roof gardens will be arranged across a series of hexagon shapes, with each space demonstrating different combinations of flooring, furniture and fittings, plus the company’s unique LiveProduct range – a ‘best-in-class’ collection of LiveWall, LiveRoof and LivePicture.

Urban Roof Gardens Plan
Urban Roof Gardens Plan

We obviously don’t have any images yet (watch this space) but the plan above gives you an idea of what to expect.  There will be spaces for ‘Urban Greening’, a ‘Creative’ space, a space for ‘Cooking and Eating’ and an intriguingly entitled ‘Tropical Bubble’. Hawaiian shirts not compulsory!

The installation will be located in the Coin Street Builders Court Yard behind the South Bank’s famous OXO Tower.  For those of you who don’t know it, this great building has been a riverside landmark since the 1930s, obviously owned in its prime by the makers of OXO, but its uses have been quite varied since then. It was majorly done up in the 1990s and is now home to a great mixture of flats, design studios, galleries, specialist shops, restaurants cafes and bars. Well worth a visit at any time of year just to mooch around the shops or simply soak up the fantastic atmosphere.

Go Modern’s outdoor furniture includes pieces from internationally renowned outdoor furniture designers Manutti and Tribu, two of our go-to specialists in some of the world’s best outdoor design. Many of their designs are made for super-yachts and top hotels as well as gardens and terraces around the world.

Tribu Nodi Outdoor Chairs
Tribu Nodi Outdoor Chairs

Look out for some of their incredible designs including:

The Nodi garden armchair, designed by the highly regarded Canadian creatives, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, for leading Belgian outdoor specialists Tribu.

The Nodi chairs are supremely light and comfortable with seats and backrests in hand-woven, stain-repellent, frost, UV and mould resistant CanaxÆ rope, which is stretched across a powder-coated stainless steel frame. The slim profile of the chair’s arm is angled slightly inward as the designers wanted to create a design with a ‘welcoming gesture’.

From our other Belgian specialists Manutti, the elegant Napoli garden bar table will be put to good use.  It’s sturdy enough for commercial and domestic use, and comes in two sizes with a wide range of finishes for both the top and the base, including a wonderful, hard-wearing, scratch-proof ceramic.  And if a round rathre than square top is what you’re looking for it comes in that too.

Manutti Napoli Bar Table
Manutti Napoli Bar Table

Look out too for the Tosca garden dining chairs,  designed by the hugely talented Monica Armani for Tribu.  The Tosca chairs feature super soft but firm over-sized braiding that wraps around the powder-coated stainless steel frame. It’s an eye-catching look and for those interested in the techy stuff, that clever shape is achieved by using a new foam mousse, contained in a seamless sheath of knitted textilene and polyolefine for greater weather resistance. The cushions can be covered in a variety of water and stain repellent fabrics, which now includes garden suitable velvet.

Tribu Tosca outdoor dining chairs
Tribu Tosca outdoor dining chairs

Also look out for Tribu’s Branch round bistro dining table, designed by Altherr Lievore Molina.  The shape was inspired by the form of tree branches, beautifully fluid and organic, created to reflect our natural environment. But behind the elegant and simple table is a complex combination of materials: The frame is made from die cast aluminium, powder-coated twice to create a scratch and UV resistant finish. Aluminium is a superb material for outdoor designs; easy to clean and weather resistant.  The Branch design also comes in three colours: white, linen, or wenge.

Tribu Branch round bistro table
Tribu Branch round bistro table

For the Branch table top you can choose from a variety of weather resistant garden suitable materials including Aluminium, A-grade Teak, or Granite, and there are three different sizes available.

Also, and on it’s second ‘designer project’ outing of the year, is our Manutti Zendo modular corner sofa.  This is one of Go modern’s most popular outdoor designs because it’s just so versatile, easy on the eye and incredibly hard-wearing.  We have one on Go Modern’s small outdoor terrace at the Kings Road showroom and we find that once a customer sits down on it, they tend to stay for a while!

Manutti Zendo modular outdoor corner sofa
Manutti Zendo modular outdoor corner sofa

So do pop along to the show.  It’s on from the 20th to the 23rd September.  Architects, designers and product specialists from Urban Roof Gardens will be on hand to answer any questions – and maybe this will be the start of your own urban ‘green space in the sky’ dream!

You can register to attend here (simply because the URG crew would quite like to know who they might meet and when!) :

https://www.thedesignjunction.co.uk/en/tickets.html

Or just pop along… the show garden is in a public open space.  One of the Go Modern team will also be on hand some of the time too and happy to answer any questions you might have about outdoor furniture (or you could try them on other topics… they’re a super friendly bunch!).  Happy green dreaming!